Photo Credit: Victor Protasio, Food&Wine Magazine, 2019.
This classic English dessert features dates which are often found in regular in sticky toffee pudding recipes. In this recipe, Medjool dates are steeped in Earl Grey tea, infusing them with the bright, aromatic lift of bergamot. It is the perfect dessert to serve at the end of a meal.
2 cups pitted Medjool dates, finely chopped
2 Earl Grey tea bags
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups boiling water
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt, divided
3/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup light muscovado sugar, divided
3/4 cup dark muscovado sugar, divided
3 large eggs
1 cup unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
1 cup heavy cream
Vanilla ice cream, for serving
Fresh Sprint Sprigs, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Place dates, tea bags, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Add 1 1/4 cups boiling water, and let stand 15 minutes. Remove and discard tea bags. Stir mixture with a fork to break apart dates.
Stir together flour, baking powder, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Combine shortening, 1/4 cup light muscovado sugar, and 1/4 cup dark muscovado sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium speed until no lumps remain, about 1 minute. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. With mixer running on low speed, gradually add flour mixture just until incorporated. Stir in date mixture. Lightly grease a 9-inch square baking pan with butter. Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in center of pudding comes out clean, 30 to 32 minutes.
Remove pudding from oven, and immediately prick all over with a wooden or metal skewer, piercing all the way to the bottom of pan. Pour 1 1/2 cups warm toffee sauce evenly over pudding, and let stand until sauce is absorbed, about 30 minutes. Cut warm pudding into 9 (3-inch) squares.
Top servings with ice cream and drizzle evenly with remaining 1/2 cup toffee sauce. For a festive touch, garnish with a sprig of mint, if desired.
Muscovado sugar is an unrefined sugar made from sugar cane. It comes in varieties from very dark to light. The main difference between muscovado sugar and granulated sugars is the moisture content. Muscovado sugar is noticeably moister, and the crystals stick together in clumps. It has a taste similar to fudge or caramel.
Dark or light brown sugar or granulated sugar with molasses or treacle can be used as substitutes for muscovado sugar. For 1 cup of dark muscovado sugar, use 1 cup granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons of molasses or treacle. For light muscovado sugar, reduce the molasses to 1 tablespoon.